It may surprise you to learn that Japanese companies are still making video cassette recorders, but this fact won’t remain useful for too long — manufacturing will cease at the end of the month. Funai Electric, a company that produces its own consumer electronics as well as handling production for other, larger companies, is the only remaining Japanese manufacturer of VCRs, but Nikkei reports it’ll close down the lines by August.
The reasons cited are, as you might imagine, the contraction of the market and the difficulty in procuring necessary components. Although other companies like Panasonic got out of the market a while back, Funai had been producing VCRs in China for Sanyo, who sold them in the US and other markets. Funai produced its first VCR in 1983 and sold as many as 15 million a year at one point, but last year managed sales of just 750,000.
Which, to be fair, is still quite impressive in the age of Netflix and rewritable digital media — just not enough to keep VCRs in production. VHS cassettes, however, are likely to stick around for a while yet; they’re still easy to find in Japanese stores, and Sony only stopped selling Betamax tapes last year even though it ceased production of recorders in 2002.